Under Fire Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is an international trench?

2. Why can Blaire, Poupardin, and Pépin not cook their meat?

3. When the squad's march comes to a halt, there is always a competition for which of the following?

4. The narrator describes the field of corpses being processed as being like which of the following?

5. Who is the "weasel-faced ancient at Gauchin" from the newspaper story?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Throughout the novel, many opinions of the poilus are articulated indirectly. The perspective always stays with the men of Bertrand's squad and almost always with the narrator, but through the experiences of these men, the perceptions of many other people towards the poilus becomes clear.

Part 1) Explain how the poilus, and particularly groups like Bertrand's squad, who have spent a great deal of time in the trenches, are perceived by the more active forces, such as other formations that are on the march, or the Moroccan Division.

Part 2) Describe the shirker's attitudes towards the poilus. How are these attitudes shaped by the shirker's own failures and vices?

Part 3) Explain how the civilians and journalists see the poilus. How are these perceptions shaped by this group's desire to support the war?

Essay Topic 2

The author demonstrates that in the war, life is cheap. Soldiers on both sides die for mundane reasons with no clear gain. The poilus of Bertrand's squad and others show that the deaths of strangers mean little to them, and the death of friends is common and unremarkable, though sad.

Part 1) Cite and explain examples from the book to show how the author establishes the poilus' attitude towards death..

Part 2) Discuss the theme of the cheapness of life. What are some of the smallest and most meaningless reasons that soldiers die in the novel? How do the soldiers react to these events?

Part 3) Do the men of Cpl. Bertrand's squad seem aware of the cheapness of their own lives? How do they deal with the nearly constant threat of death, and the knowledge that death may mean nothing?

Essay Topic 3

The machine gun is a feared weapon on the battlefield, and rightly so. Its effectiveness is seen in detail in the chapter "Under Fire," and the men discuss it on many occasions. It is the primary reason for the existence of trench warfare, and the cause of most of the misery on which the book centers. The machine gunners themselves represent an almost élite class in the army, being specially favored targets for retribution and looting, and receiving a variety of favors from their own side.

Part 1) Use information from the book to explain what a machine gun is and its impact on warfare in the time of the novel.

Part 2) Explain the men's perceptions and fears about machine guns. Cite specific examples to justify or disprove these perceptions.

Part 3) Discuss some of the ways that machine gunners are treated differently from other soldiers, both by their own forces and by the enemy. Why do these men receive this treatment?

(see the answer keys)

This section contains 587 words
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